Zahradní ateliér / Garden Atelier - 2011



Prof. Alois Piňos /CZ/ - Music Academy in Brno


The Colloquium in the Forfest Festival 2005


Published by Opus Musicum 4/2005


Within the framework of the international festival of contemporary spiritual music „FORFEST Kromeriz“ is practised colloquium every two years.  Its theme does not vary; it is
a problem of spiritual currents in up-to-day art.

This year’s colloquium took place in 20th-23rd June. Not only musicians, musicologists, composers, concert masters participated in it, but some performers from other branches, especially artists, writers and representatives of various cultural establishments, too.

The foreign guests – some of them performed in the concert programme of Forfest – arrived from the USA, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. This wide attendance is a part of a heritage of these colloquiums.


This year, author presentations were a part of the programme as well. Some of them have brought stimulations, which has over passed an importance of personal composer’s creation.

§         Pavel Zemek discussed the usage of unison-technique, Dinos  Constantinides from
the USA talked about Grecian roots of his creation.

§         The German composers Peter Tenhaef and Matthias Drude introduced their pieces
in a last local colloquium, offered further information about them. Tenhaef is influenced by Plato’s ideas, numeric orders and by Pärt.  He comes from an aliquot series and in his „Fractal psalms“, he attains to extreme reduction, to absolute deliverance. Drude introduced his „committed spiritual music“.

§         Pavel Smutný informed about his pieces, which were stimulated by Austrian Christian victims and opponents of Nazism: by F. Jägerstäter (the opera Mysterium fidei" and "Missa heroica") and by nun M. Restituta ("Missa Restituta"). Unfortunately, the sound documentation was not available.


The musicologists and concert performers discussed in another largest group of statement.

§         Petr Pokorný decided to choose a theme „The music and ideology“. His answer to a question „Can a music by itself be a carrier of an ideology?“ is positive and he indicates three basic bearers of an ideology in a European music. Beethoven believed in progress and he quasi leads the listeners to a light and to the transcendence of Wagner – the antipode of Beethoven (it concerns ideology of evil and brutality) and to the perfection of Mahler – author of spiritual, subjective, humanistic, tender-hearted art. The author of this script made the hearer acquainted with a dilemma of team compositions and with
the unique activity of a compositional team from Brno. The team must resolve not only musically compositional questions, but also especially social, psychological, moral, ethical questions in order to make persistent and first -rate creation of art.

§         Wanda Dobrovská reflected upon a question if a spiritual music, written in far-out forms and presented in the traditional cultural centres – especially in churches, is acceptable.  She mentioned some examples from orthodox world.

§         Jan Grossmann quoted from a mastermind and healer G. Boltwood : “When the ancient Greeks discussed the music of firmament, they really felt it” in his entry “The music
of sphere or from the ancient Greeks to present”. Later, this Grecian ability was interpreted more likely as a philosophic outlook.  But they really perceived that the sound had an echo in it, it contains the cognition and we try to activate it. Grossmann is convinced that “the big historical dome from ancient Geek’s thinkers will steer us into its forgotten dormant substance, into its naturalness…We should speculate about, think over, reflect and experiment with a possibility how to use the subliminal momentum in a compositions.


What is more authentic and more meaningful in present music and generally artistic fumble beyond to find our own roots again?”

§         Ludmila Vrkočová discussed the church school as the new phenomenon of our present music life.  After the revolution in 1989, church schools increases quickly and started to be very popular. The considerable differentiation and various modifications of their occupation and dramaturgy in comparison to the traditional forms of those schools occurred later. But those traditional schools assert themselves anyhow.

§         Vlastimil Marek put his mind especially to the curative effects of spiritual music and aims his attention to Tibetan strains. “The music of the Tibetian is more healing than Mozart/! /, thousand fold.” “The most healthful is a Human Voice but it is necessary to disengage ourselves.”

§         Rumanian composer Liviu Danceanu communicated about the theme “The music and the holiness in the contemporary days”. He considers all the music to be holiness. The music commemorates us lost paradise; it is the language of Angels as well. If it is not sacred so it is concerned non-music, anti-music. Thanks to music we dream and imagine God. That is why is the music holiness act as a pray.

§         The rigorously at some length elaborated paper of Jan Vrkoč “Musical heritage
of O. A. Tichý“ came under category of recollection of worthy but semi- out of mind personalities.

§         Julie Hirzbergerová from Austria talked on the part of concertmaster about the role of accordion in contemporaneous spiritual music.

§         Vojtěch Mojžíš informed about The Society for Spiritual Music Prague.

§         The American composer Theodor Wiprud gave a notice about the Festival of Sacred Music in New York. He showed as well that spiritual music should captivate all perceptions of men and now is good to involve a scene, stage-lights, mediums etc. He accepts integration with jazz and rock in spiritual music but he disavows New Age.

§         The music is understood to be the escape from materialism in the USA. The spiritual inspirations are very frequent among living authors in the USA


Apparently, the speakers were universally /except rarities/ concerned with present music artefacts. Except the creative problems it was paid attention to the organisational questions in some cases (The Society For Spiritual Music, festivals), too.

The retrospective narration of J. Vrkoč about O. A. Tichý belonged to later music history.

The inspired philosophical bent of P. Pokorný´s report analysed the ideology in music of some historical periods until Twentieth Century

Than J. Grossmann’s paper about the music of spheres contained the era since antique up to this day.

They didn’t absent even the reflections of the painting’s view and a literature at the colloquium.


§         The Slovak artist Eva Trizuljaková conceived her paper “Humanism without the true of apocalypse – the splendour and the misery of modern culture” by philosophically way.

§         Artist Dana Puchnarová employs herself in spiritual power and strength of colours and she referred to the spiritual bases of modern art.  She described her own spiritual and artistic development as well

§         Musicologist Hana Blochová put her mind to the integration of present plastic arts and painting with modern physics and mysticism.

§         There was newly opened wide philosophically ambitious exhibition of a spiritual creation of Václav Vaculovič “Your burning furnace” in the building of Museum of Kromeriz where the colloquium took place. The presentation became an important part of the artistic atmosphere and a documentation of the colloquium.

§         Other programmes accompanying the colloquium contributed to literary proportions of it. For instance a poetic- humorous-meditation by Ilja Hurník about spiritual music, the meditation by Roman Szpuk “The inner voice” with a motto “Look it your inner voice” and all antemeridian course on 26th June, where the youngest poets presented themselves with a free sequence in colloquium. Some of them sang their rhymes with spiritual and meditation content and made a guitar accompaniment themselves.


In my opinion the discussion at “the round table” organized on the third day was very valuable. It was concentrated on a determinant proposition of Forfest, on opened questions about –formulation of concept “spiritual music”, “inward art” etc.  The point is that the systematic terms varied and alternated and changed its signification over the time, was and is various in various linguistic ranges, cultures, confessions and countries. But the pieces from various eras and performances from different continents get into touch with each other at the same time today.

It probably will not be possible to formulate the only all-embracive satisfactory definition of spiritual music, of all its attributes and limits. It will be also necessary to have a respect to different aspects. A matter is e.g. degree of precision of concept formulation or mission of the music.

It is the music devotional, church, spiritual concert music, spiritual music in larger or narrow sense. It is possible to definite it per negationem, too: we can agree upon all, what is not spiritual music.

Or we can start from both extreme positions and go step by step with larger or more narrow allowance to the mean, in which compositions, in which a spiritual and profane elements blend or in which a spiritual components generate a peculiarity only.

But if these spiritual elements were only the exterior (e.g. a pastiche title), they could not be perceived as spiritual at all.

The participants of round-table recommend getting back to the important, living and actual theme in the next colloquium, in two years.

The general inclusive discussion was surely useful too, but there was neither time nor the thought for interesting individual papers, which were going off two or three days before. The other fact is that the auditorium changed along four days considerably in respect thereof, by far not all the participants passed all the running of the colloquium.

To my surprise no priest from any denomination participated in the colloquium, even not in a passive role. Although reports of church representatives should be valuable and interesting and could be a stimulation for a muse and a discussion, too.

The colloquium together with the concerts of Forfest newly demonstrated that the theme of spiritual creation is wide, lively, open and actual and that Forfest is an irreplaceable part of our musical and cultural life.

/ Author is Professor of the Music Academy in Brno /